Apple: 90 percent of 'genuine' Apple items on Amazon are fake

Apple is suing an electronics distributor over what it says are bogus Apple accessories sold on Amazon.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Amazon has now removed Mobile Star's 'Apple' products, which buyers widely condemned as fakes.

Image: Amazon

Apple says its investigation into Apple-branded goods sold on Amazon has found that 90 percent of them are fake.

The claim is made in a fresh lawsuit filed this week by Apple against gadget seller Mobile Star LLC, which Amazon recently banned from its online marketplace.

While Apple is chiefly accusing Mobile Star LLC of selling bogus Apple-branded power adapters and cables on Amazon, the complaint doesn't reflect well on Amazon's vetting of products sold on the e-commerce platform.

MacRumors quotes from Apple's complaint: "Over the last nine months, Apple, as part of its ongoing brand protection efforts, has purchased well over 100 iPhone devices, Apple power products, and Lightning cables sold as genuine by sellers on Amazon.com and delivered through Amazon's 'Fulfillment by Amazon' program. Apple's internal examination and testing for these products revealed almost 90 percent of these products are counterfeit."

While Apple is defending over $2bn in quarterly accessory sales, the complaint also raises the real safety risks to which counterfeit items can expose buyers, such as fire or electricity hazards, because such products don't undergo the same testing as genuine goods.

Apple says that it "devotes significant resources to ensuring its power products meet industry safety standards and are subjected to rigorous testing for safety and reliability" and therefore has requested a court to prevent Mobile Star from selling counterfeit goods to the public on Amazon and elsewhere.

Indeed, Amazon has recently clamped down on non-compliant USB Type-C products for the same reasons, but only after a Google engineer waged war on bogus USB Type-C cables and chargers that were sold on Amazon.

Similarly, Amazon recently revoked Mobile Star's selling rights due to a complaint by Apple over several items that were marked as authentic when, according to Apple, they were not. Amazon has denied an appeal by Mobile Star to reinstate its selling privileges.

According to MacRumors, Apple is seeking damages of up to $2m per trade mark infringed and up to $150,00 for each copyright violation.

ZDNet has asked Amazon for comment. However, it has said that it has a "zero tolerance" for counterfeit sales and that it pursues wrongdoers "aggressively".

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